Insurance man William Henry Hoover Sr. began buying land on Highway 31 under the name South Jefferson Company in the 1950s after learning of the state’s plan to start widening the 31 corridor. He realized the movement south would bring opportunity to the area, even moving his own company to the area. The groundbreaking for Employers Insurance Company of Alabama’s new home office building took place in December 1957, and construction finished September 1958. It was from this building that the rest of the city’s businesses began to spring up. Hoover Sr. was quoted in the Hoover Sun in November 1974: “I hope Hoover will continue to grow as a good, clean city, one that emphasizes quality not size.”

INCORPORATION

In the late 1960s, there were many reasons to vote “yes” or “no” to incorporate. Some people were concerned about tax burdens on the residential area, and there were disagreements on what to name the town; still, others saw potential. After two votes (in 1964 and 1967), the area officially became the town of Hoover in 1967. It gained city status in 1973.

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Then, photo courtesy of Allison McDonald Arnett

1977

McDonald Furniture Gallery opened with special pricing to celebrate their new location at 1676 Montgomery Highway (Highway 31) in February 1977. The prices all ended in .76 to reflect when construction started (1976) and the physical address (1676). This building was later leased to Calder Furniture, and when it closed, the building was divided into individual smaller spaces for rent. The building on the left was added in 1983, and the center remodeled in 2004. It’s now known as Patton Chapel Plaza.

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Then, photo courtesy of Hoover police Department

1972

The Hoover Mall opened in 1972 with Zayre and Winn-Dixie as the anchors. It was originally an indoor mall, but following renovations, it became a strip mall, known today as Hoover Commons.

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Then, photo courtesy of Images of America Hoover, Arcadia Publishing, Hoover Historical Society

1971

Hoover’s first free-standing city hall opened in 1971 with space for police officers and two jail cells.

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Then, photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department, Hoover Historical Society Anniversary Scrapbook

1980s

A Hoover PD Chevrolet Impala is pictured here pulling in to the Hoover Village Shopping Center on Highway 31. Back in the day, locals could buy ice cream at Swenson’s, the building to the left of Hoover Village. Long’s Electronics was the anchor store in this center for many years.

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Then, photo courtesy of Hoover Public Library

1987

Hoover celebrated its 20th birthday on May 23, 1987. A celebration held at City Hall featured a large cake displayed on the front lawn.

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Then, photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department

1957

Highway 31 at Braddock Drive was considered to be the central area from which the city sprang up. The building to the right is Employers Insurance. Today, this is where Steel City Emergency Vet, the Jefferson County satellite office, Green Valley Drugs and Publix are located.

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Then, photo courtesy of Images of Modern America Riverchase, Arcadia Publishing, Gerald Smith

1986

The much-anticipated Riverchase Galleria opened in February 1986 by Developer Jim Wilson and Associates with four anchor stores: Parisian, Pizitz, Rich’s and J.C. Penney. Before opening, a fire caused by hot tar roofing kettle broke out on the roof of the mall’s office tower, causing extensive damage to the roof and the top floors.

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Then, photo courtesy of City of Hoover

1990s

Remember going to the latest flick at Hoover Square 6? Cobb Theatres opened Hoover Square 6 in 1983. The theatre closed in 1999. The complex then went under major renovations. Today, Hoover Square shopping center is anchored by TJ Maxx and HomeGoods.